Agricultural Policy

WLBP and the FAWL Scheme

Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd have provided the following update for the FUW:


Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd have decided to defer all FAWL assessments for a while as they review their options following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic: UKAS regulations enable such deferrals during emergencies. A review of the decision will be made in mid-May. Both UKAS and the Food Standards Agency have approved the decision. In the meantime, WLBP will work with its certification body, QWFC to see what alternatives may be available for farm certification going forward. These include desktop audits when a review of records may be possible remotely, without undertaking farm visits, for example by forwarding photos of records taken by mobile phone. The preferred option though would be for FAWL members to complete their records on WLBP’s website via their Farm Records facility. This would enable a review to be undertaken quickly and easily; the records can be readily updated and would significantly reduce the effort required to maintain them. However, by far the most important part of any farm assessment is a visit to view stock and facilities and those should only take place if they can be undertaken safely with minimal risk to all concerned.


WLBP will present proposals for future assessments by the end of May following more discussions with UKAS, the FSA and agricultural organisations including the FUW.

 

RTA move to virtual inspections during covid

Red Tractor Assurance have decided to conduct ‘virtual’ farm tour inspections with farmers (which will be applicable for dairy and crop Red Tractor Assured farms in Wales). High risk farms, new RTA members and those with overdue inspections will be prioritised for virtual inspection.

If farmers decide to have a virtual farm assessment and conform to the standards then they do not need a physical inspection when the pandemic is over.

A Q&A on the remote inspection process is on the RTA website:
https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7104.pdf?_=637225641329099630

 

NRW guidance for milk disposal

Where farmers are forced to dispose of more milk on fields over the coming weeks or months, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have relaxed elements of the U10 waste exemption. However storage and spreading requirements remain in place and an exemption must still be applied for here.

The standard U10 waste exemption guidance can be found on the NRW website here. The requirements for storage, spreading limits and spreading conditions remain in place. However spreading frequency limits have been relaxed to once every three weeks. In addition to the current waste requirements:

  • This exemption should only be used if no other storage alternatives are available
  • All other land management requirements i.e. through Glastir must be met
  • Do not apply more than 50 metre cubed of slurry or dirty water in a single application
  • Waste milk must be diluted with equal amounts of water or slurry
  • Records of fields, amount of waste applied and date must be kept for two years

Further information on NRW’s approach to covid is available here. Farmers who cannot meet the above requirements can contact NRW by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 03000 65 3000.

RABDF milk price survey

The FUW is urging farmers who have been victims of milk price cuts or missed milk collections to complete this RABDF survey on a daily basis. The information gathered in this survey will provide Defra with valuable statistics on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the UK and Welsh dairy sector.

 

Latest guidance for farmers on public right of ways

Since the beginning of the covid pandemic, access to the countryside and the use of public footpaths has been high on the agenda and was highlighted in the first letter to UK Secretary of State George Eustice and Welsh Minister Lesley Griffiths on 23 March.

Welsh Government therefore enacted the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 on 27 March which enables Local Authorities to close footpaths which are deemed as high risk. This has been enforced in some areas of Wales as required and up to date lists of the closed footpaths can be viewed here.

In addition, Welsh Government have created guidance explaining the legalities and advice for farmers who are responsible for public footpaths. Please click here for the Welsh Government footpath guidance.

The FUW has produced appropriate signs for members to use which can be obtained through email from your local county office and we continue to discuss these matters with Stakeholders amongst the Access Reform Advisory Group.

 

COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/